Magistrate Mashiane Mathopa today ruled in the Randburg Magistrate Court that the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) judicial inquest into the death of Col. Patrick Karegeya, the former Head of Intelligence of Rwanda, must be stopped. This follows Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, bringing an application in this regard on behalf of Karegeya’s family.
Karegeya, who sought asylum in South Africa after fleeing Rwanda, was found strangled in a hotel room in Johannesburg in 2013. After five years of inaction, the NPA decided to submit the matter before the Magistrate for a judicial inquest to be held into the death of Karegeya after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit was approached on behalf of Karegeya’s family and other parties to determine why his death was not properly investigated.
This ruling is a victory for both AfriForum and the justice system, as it sends a message to the police and the NPA that they cannot use legal processes to delay or cover up prosecution cases. In his judgement, Magistrate Mathopa says that the police and the NPA did not indicate at all which steps they took to get the suspects in court. The Magistrate also states that it is clear that the NPA knows who the suspects in this case are and that justice delayed is justice denied. The investigating officer in this case must further, within 14 days of the ruling, among others indicate what steps have been taken to arrest the Rwandan suspects, as these persons’ identities and whereabouts are known.
“This is a very positive ruling. The NPA’s institution of a judicial inquest was in this case an abuse of legal proceedings, which was used to attempt to cover up an inexplicable delay in the case. We will monitor the developments of this case closely to ensure that justice is done,” says Adv. Nel.